Ask the Author: Melinda Grace
What would you like readers to know about you?
Readers should know that I wrote this book for them. I wrote MEET IN OUTER SPACE for every person who has never seen themselves in a book. I never saw myself in books growing up and, to be honest, didn’t even realize it until it was pointed out to me as problematic when I was studying creative writing in college. It was a kind of Aha! moment for me.
What is MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE about for those who haven’t read it?
MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE has several themes, though the overarching theme is accepting who you are in order to achieve your dreams and reach your goals. It’s also about maintaining agency and equality in education, falling in and out of love, friendship, fashion, Paris, and intramural volleyball.
What has been your inspiration for writing MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE?
My original inspiration for MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE was a simple song lyric, but that inspiration evolved as I wrote and edited the book. My true inspiration for the book was sharing my own experience with the same disability the main character, Edie, has because representation in literature is essential.
What was your favorite scene or part of MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE to write?
I have two favorite scenes. The first is the final chapter. I wrote that about halfway through writing the book. I knew how I wanted it to end, so I wrote the final chapter before the book was complete. My second favorite was the chapter in which Serena shows Edie the pictures she’s chosen for her exhibit. That chapter came much later, during copy edits, as a result of a tweak to the plot.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Every book I’ve ever read has brought me to this point. I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger, I suppose I didn’t value the benefits of reading, but I was always a writer. I started writing short stories (that were mostly dialogue) in middle school. I took some creative writing classes in college, fiction and poetry mainly, and my fellow students in those classes inspired me as well. Inspiration, for me, comes from everywhere.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Writing a book is hard. It takes time and dedication and grit. If you have those three things you can write a book. I’ve been writing since I was 12, but didn’t write my first full-length manuscript until the age of 29. My FOURTH full-length manuscript was acquired by Macmillan and released in March, I am turning 36 in a few months…my point is, you have to stick with it.